Charles-François Daubigny: biography, creativity, the best paintings

Charles-Francois Daubigny. Apple trees in bloom, 1862
Apple trees in bloom, 1862

Charles-François Daubigny painted a lot from nature, his main attention was attracted by simple rural landscapes. Although the master believed that the personal perception of the painter could not participate in the reflection of what he saw, his work turned out to be very poetic.

Charles-Francois Daubigny. Banks of the Oise, 1859
Banks of the Oise, 1859

Biography of Charles-Francois Daubigny

Charles-Francois Daubigny, a native of Paris, was born on February 15, 1817 in a creative family. His father painted landscapes, and his uncle created miniatures. The boy received an elementary art education in his home, and then began to take lessons from Paul Delaroche, a famous painter who worked in the historical genre. Young Charles was attracted by the works of Dutch masters, he could copy for hours the famous works of Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema.

Charles-Francois Daubigny. Ferry to Gluton, 1859
Ferry to Gluton, 1859

The Daubigny family lived in abundance, and the young painter had the opportunity to travel. Together with a friend, he in 1835-1836. visited the cities of Italy, where he painted a lot. Nevertheless, neither this trip, nor later ones to Holland, Great Britain, Spain, did not particularly affect the content of his work. The artist was born to glorify his native France in his landscapes.

Returning from Italy, Daubigny began to work as a restorer, and later illustrated the works of Honoré de Balzac, Victor Marie Hugo, Eugène Sue (Marie Joseph Eugène Sue). And after the death of his father, Charles Daubigny devoted himself entirely to painting. In the early paintings of the master, traces of classicism were traced, but then he began to work in a realistic style. This tendency is demonstrated by his work “The Harvest” in 1851. Previously embellished decorative landscapes were replaced by unassuming rural landscapes.

Charles-Francois Daubigny. Fog at Sunset, 1861
Fog at Sunset, 1861

The nature of Daubigny’s creativity corresponded to the principles of the Barbizon school.

The artists of this group depicted nature in its natural form, since it is beautiful in itself, opposed its harmony to the imperfection of human society. In the late 1850s, to get closer to nature, Charles Daubigny built a boat-workshop. Traveling on it along the Seine and Oise rivers, he painted and made sketches from nature. The image of the river has become a frequent motive in his works.

Great Valley in Optevo, 1857
Great Valley in Optevo, 1857

Over the years, Daubigny developed a peculiar style of painting: the main means of painting for him was not the clarity of the drawing and its detailing, but wide volumetric strokes and the finest color gradations. These techniques were inherited by the Impressionists, whom the master helped in 1868 to organize an exposition at the Paris Salon. The painter tried to give more monumentality and significance to his later works. At the same time, they deeply lyrically embody the charm of nature.

Charles-Francois Daubigny died in Paris on February 19, 1878.

Haymaking. Charles-Francois Daubigny

The most famous paintings by Charles-Francois

Daubigny Charles Daubigny’s paintings stand out for their exquisite color, as if borrowed from nature itself. The artist’s works have a similar composition: two-thirds of the canvas depicts the sky, which always appears in different colors, and one-third is occupied by the main landscape. Among the outstanding works of the painter are the following:

  • Spring (1857) is one of the best early landscapes. In the work, the artist vividly conveys the spring awakening of nature, the feeling of freshness.
  • Morning (1858) the work is distinguished by an extraordinary subtlety of color nuances: delicate shades of blue in the image of the water surface and the sky, pinkish rays of the rising sun. It was said that when Daubigny was pleased with his work, he added ducks to the landscape. In this regard, this work is indicative.
  • “The Grape Harvest” (1863) the landscape with its rich colors enlivens the presence of a working person.
  • “Town on the Seine” (1865) the palette of the picture consists of dark colors, the artist uses subtle overflows of shades. Due to this, nature seems alive, there is a feeling of fleetingness and uniqueness of the moment. It seems that a few seconds will pass and the quiet river bank will completely plunge into darkness.
  • The Village on the Banks of the Oise (1868) is one of the finest works by Charles Daubigny, created during his travels in a floating workshop. The viewer looks at the river bank as if from a boat, and its movement is repeated by the ducks that swim one after another.

The landscapes of Charles-Francois Daubigny convey a genuine love for their native nature.

The artist’s works are realistic, objective and filled with lyrics.
Herd. Charles-Francois Daubigny
Charles-Francois Daubigny. Heron Pond, 1857
Heron Pond, 1857
Charles-Francois Daubigny. Meadows overlooking the sea, 1859
Meadows overlooking the sea, 1859
Moonlight night
Moonlight night
Morning, 1858
Morning, 1858
Shepherd, 1858
Shepherd, 1858
Spring, 1857
Spring, 1857
The dam in Optevo, 1859
The dam in Optevo, 1859
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